Early morning walks help to clear the mind – May 2019

Curiosity keeps leading us down new paths

Walt Disney

Early morning walk out the back door.

Recognising that not everyone involved has the same outlook on a project is disappointing. It raises questions, is easy to point fingers and blame, and yet more helpfully it provides opportunity to pause and reflect; and breathe.

Clearly, when teachers have the support from senior leadership, it is evident that confidence grows. Individual teachers are willing to take a risk – they lift their heads above the parapet and become adventurous in their teaching and dare to try new things.

As we move towards the end of Year One of our project, and start to plan Year Two, it is vital that as project leaders, we consider how to maintain the momentum of the project and ensure that there is full support from leaders within each school.

How can this be communicated clearly?

  • Should support or direction come directly from the central team of a Multi Academy Trust.
  • Would Teacher Facilitators benefit from regular 1:1 phone calls or face to face meetings? (Within a space and time where they would feel safe and free to be open and honest – not conscious of what others may think.)
  • Will my specific role morph and change for Year 2
  • Will the Year 1 evaluation give us a clear picture of schools who are fully committed to the project – and clarify where focus needs to be made.
  • How can I be more supportive? What do teachers value or want from me?

What prevents ‘buy in’?

  • Delivery of introduction of the project
  • Style of leadership
  • Understanding the purpose and direction
  • Value of arts in the curriculum
  • Identifying the importance of teacher development and CPDL

How to be supportive

“The role of a creative leader is not to have all the ideas; it’s to create a culture where everyone can have ideas and feel that they’re valued.”  Ken Robinson

  • Provide space to voice opinions and feel listened to
  • Challenge mindsets
  • Find the keys to open the mind to new ideas and opportunities
  • Plan curriculum that specifically weaves arts into every subject

Stop. Listen. Breathe.

This is a favourite view of mine from a local rambling spot. As I forge my way through the brambles and nettles that encroach upon the path I ponder on the ancients that once stood on this soil, had this view, had vision and drew in breath on this spot. What decisions were made, what differences incurred? What difference did they make?

Yet while I love walking this much trodden track, I strive to forge new pathways. My ambition and drive is to awaken teachers’ eyes to the importance of embracing the arts in our curriculum.

No doubt there will be those metaphorical brambles and nettles that weave their way across the path and need to be removed or cut back in order to make the pathway clear. But it is important to remember to continue to walk along the tracks made by others, keeping our eyes and minds open to new paths, new directions, new perspectives and new mindsets.

Note to self: Create a place to be inspired and be inspiring.